Eight teenage girls face Christmas behind bars as they are held in custody over the brutal murder of a homeless man
The girls allegedly killed a man, known locally as Kenny, 59, before robbing him of his alcohol on Sunday, in Toronto, Canada
The suspects allegedly, ‘swarmed, the victim before stabbing him in the belly and grabbing his alcohol
The girls – three aged 13, three 14, and two 16, met on social media
They were charged on Tuesday with second-degree murder and have been scheduled to reappear in court on Dec. 29
The names of the suspects who are minors, cannot be released under Canadian law
Three of the suspects have prior brushes with the law
Eight teenage girls, ages 13 to 16, will spend Christmas in police custody after being accused of brutally killing a homeless man for his alcohol. The girls have been charged with second-degree murder on Tuesday for allegedly stabbing a 59-year-old man, who was locally known as Kenney.
Toronto police say the girls who met through social media murdered the victim after they “swarmed” him on Sunday morning.
Police said bystanders flagged down emergency medical personnel in the area of York Street and University Avenue shortly after midnight on Sunday to help a man who had been injured.
The same group of girls reportedly, were involved in another altercation earlier in the night and had a lot of weapons on them, according to police. None of their identities have been released due to the Youth Criminal Justice Act.
Three of the girls are 13, three others are 14, and two are 16, according to the Toronto Police, and they met on social media. Three of the suspects have prior brushes with the law with authorities and they are all believed to be from various parts of the city.
Authorities are not classifying the group as a gang, at the moment, but said they did engage in ‘swarming,’ where a large group of people attack one target.
They were taken into custody on Sunday and are not due back in court until December 29.
Witnesses said the girls attacked the victim to steal his alcohol. He was sitting with a friend when they approached and stabbed him.
He was taken to the hospital with life-threatening injuries and he was later pronounced dead.
One resident of the Strathcona Hotel told CTV News Toronto that the teenagers who were inebriated, tried to steal Kenney’s alcohol – a ‘mickey’, or small bottle of liquor.
Ken Webber confirmed that Kenney was with a female friend in a plaza northwest of the intersection of University Avenue and York Street when he was attacked: ‘They were sitting on a bench, sipping booze out of a mickey and having a cigarette.’
The female friend, who did not want to be named, said Kenney ‘protected me,’ after the girls tried to grab her liquor bottle. The girls then allegedly began punching him before they ‘stabbed his belly.’
‘Bleeding, bleeding, bleeding. I didn’t know if they had a knife or what. I was just scared,’ she said, adding ‘I didn’t know he would die.’
She said she brought Kenney water after the attack.
Webber said: ‘I saw the aftermath of the attack.’ The teens were ‘standing outside the Union Station stairwell there, arguing, screaming and yelling.’
One police source told The Toronto Sun the girls were ‘like wild animals.’
They said: ‘They’re all young offenders. They attacked this guy like a bunch of wild animals. He tried to fight them off and they just kept coming back. He was just minding his own business, he wasn’t bothering a soul.’
Kenney was remembered in the community as friendly and kind.
Roberto Sanchez, who often holds the door open at a nearby Tim Hortons, told CTV News: ‘He was friendly. He was generous. He was a kind-hearted person. Everyone has their issues. But all in all, I didn’t see him as a threat to no one.
‘For those youths to do that to him — it’s heart-wrenching. I can’t believe it.’
The eight girls were arrested near where the attack happened after a group of people flagged down emergency services near York Street and University Avenue, near Union Station around 12.15am. Police also recovered a “number of weapons” from the suspects.
Det. Browne said the victim started living in Toronto’s shelter system in September. He said they haven’t been able to reach certain family members – but confirmed that he died from his wounds in the hospital.
Browne said the crime had even shocked the police.
He added: ‘I’ve been in policing for almost 35 years and you think you’ve seen it all. Anyone who isn’t shocked with hearing something like this has clearly just thrown in the towel and just said that anything is possible in this world.
‘Eight young girls and most under the age of 16. If this isn’t alarming and shocking to everyone, then we’re all in trouble quite frankly.’